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Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

We next analyze the role played by shrines in our society1. The religion preached here is called tasawwuf (Sūfīsm) and, we are afraid that, it is entirely different in all fundamentals and principles from Islam. Even a cursory analysis clearly brings out this fact. It is observed thus:

1. The Qur’ān defines Tawhīd (monotheism) as the acknowledgement of Allah as the only Ilaah, who is free from all flaws and imperfections and to whom all gracious attributes are ascribed which are accepted by all norms of sense and reason and which have been explained by the Almighty Himself through His prophets. The word Ilaah in the Arabic language is specifically used for someone who at some level or the other possess control and authority without requiring any cause or means to execute what He intends. According to the Qur’ān, if an attribute is acknowledged for someone which is actually the result of this control and authority, then this is what is called Shirk (polytheism), and it states in unequivocal terms that such an attribution is only true in case of the Almighty. It demands from all Muslims to acknowledge this control and authority only for Allah in their faith, deeds as well as in all their objectives.

It is this Tawhīd upon which our religion is based. It is around this basic belief that the mission of all the prophets had revolved. Abraham and Moses, John and Jesus, all upto Muhammad (peace be upon them) had proclaimed and propagated this message. All Divine Books elaborated upon this at length. There is no other level of Tawhīd above this for which a person must strive in this world.

In Tasawwuf, however, this is regarded as the first level of Tawhīd and it is meant for the common man. It is considered as a mere prelude to the actual contents of Tawhīd. The highest level of Tawhīd, according to the exponents of this religion, is to acknowledge existence only for the Almighty and simultaneously affirm that no one besides Him actually exists. All the determinations (ta’ayyunaat) of the Universe whether observed directly or perceived through reason and intellect are mental concepts and emanate from the Absolute Being---the Almighty. They have no external existence beyond the Absolute Being. The Universe is actually another name for the manifestations of Allah. It is God as regards its substance though it cannot be considered so as regards its determinations. Its nature is nothingness (‘adam). If it is regarded to exist, then this would be associating something in the Being of Allah, and this is precisely what the popular Sūfī maxim Laa maujooda illalaah2 negates.

This same view about Tawhīd is held by Shiri Shankar Achaarya, the famous commentator of the ‘Upanishads’, along with Shri Ram Noje Acharya, Plotinus and Spinoza. Among modern western philosophers Leibniz, Fichte, Hagel, Schonpenhauer, Bradley and Benedict are the ardent exponents of this concept. Among these, Shri Shankar, Plotinus and Spinoza uphold the philosophy of Wahdat-ul-wujood (Oneness of Being), while Ram Noje Acharya advocates the philosophy of Wahdat-us-shuhood (Oneness of Witnessing) as does Shri Krishan in ‘Gita’. The ‘Upanishads’, ‘Braham Suter’, ‘Gita’, and ‘Fusoos-ul-Hikam’, occupy the same position in this religion as the one occupied by the Torah, the Zaboor, the Bible and the Qur’ān in the divinely revealed religions. Viewed thus, it can be observed that in contrast with the Qur’ānic concept of Tawhīd this fallacious concept has remained a universal evil, influencing many intelligent people the world over.

2. The concept of Tawhīd presented by the Qur’ān is an obvious reality asserted by the Almighty Himself in all Divine books and explained by all His prophets. It conforms with the highest possible standards of rationality and is, in fact, the call of our hearts. Its rationality is so indisputable that those enlightened with true knowledge as well as the angels vouch for it and none of its aspects is concealed from our eyes. According to the Qur’ān:

‘Allah [Himself] is a witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning [too are witnesses]. [He] is the Executor of justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.’ (3:18)

All the prophets were sent forth in this world to call mankind towards this belief. This was their foremost obligation, and if they had failed in fulfilling it they would have, in fact, failed to discharge their basic duty as prophets. It must also be borne in mind that this assignment was not something beyond their ability, for the Qur’ān clearly says that the Almighty never imposes an obligation on someone which is beyond his capability.

On the contrary, when a saalik (the traveller of the spiritual path) gets to know the secrets of his Tawhīd as stated above, words are unable to state and define it and a person, therefore, is unable to propagate it as well3. It is said that the more it is explained the more complicated it gets and the more it is revealed the more it gets concealed. Therefore, the secrets of this Tawhīd cannot be written down and, in fact, the disclosure of these secrets amounts to infidelity.

3. The Qur’ān categorically states that the institution of Prophethood has been terminated at the Prophethood of Mohammad (sws). This quite obviously means that all forms of divine revelation have been brought to an end and no person after the prophets can claim utter innocence from any sin and divine protection from any evil on their basis. This meaning of the finality of Prophethood has been stated in clear terms by the Prophet (sws) himself:

‘Mubasharaat are the only remnants of Prophethood. People inquired: ‘What are mubasharaat?’ The Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Good dreams’.’ (Bukhari, Kitab-ud-Ta’beer)

However, our Sūfīs have always negated the implications of the finality of Prophethood and have their own peculiar concept about this finality. They maintain that the Almighty still sends down His revelation to their leading figures, just as He did to His Prophets. They also claim that like the Prophet (sws), many of their own distinguished people have ascended the heavens to witness Divine Disclosures (Tajalliaat) and were also blessed with the opportunity of a dialogue with the Almighty. According to them, the meaning of the finality of Prophethood is that no one will be able to give a new Shariah, but as far as other features and characteristics of prophethood are concerned, they still exist and are attainable. To them the inspiration (ilhaam) of their elect, because of their innocence, is free of any traces of evil and its authenticity is beyond any shadow of doubt. The views of the person among them who is entrusted with the first station of bestowed spiritual stations (maqaamaat-i-wahabiah) are regarded by them to be based on truth in their entirety, and no evil can make an incursion into them. They say that such a person follows a prophet only because he has been divinely commanded to support him, otherwise he does not need a prophet or an angel to receive divine guidance because of his own direct link with the Almighty. Therefore, on this earth his own words and deeds are the final authority to which the Qur’ān and Sunnah themselves submit.

After violating the sanctity of the institution of Prophethood, they move ahead and enter into the realms which lie beyond the spacio-temporal order crying out in frenzy: ‘O daring spirit of man! The Lord is reachable as well’. Their control and authority at this stage extends over the entire space-time continuum. They are not only aware of the language of birds, but are even aware of a footfall. They are even able to hear the sound of an ant walking on a stone at night. They have complete knowledge of a person’s fate and fortune and are able to read a person’s mind. They hold and grasp the world and enforce the orders of the Almighty. At this point they cry out: ‘O group of Prophets you have only been given the title of a Prophet and you never received what we were given’ (Futoohaat-i-Makya, Ibni Arabi, Vol 2, Pg 90)

4. According to the Qur’ān, the basic duty which Islam requires of its believers is to worship the Almighty. Worship, in reality, is a subjective phenomenon and first of all appears within a person, and after it becomes related with his external self, it completely encircles his personality. As a result, his relationship with the Almighty is that of a worshiper and the worshipped. Throughout his life he tries to worship the Almighty in the most befitting manner in order to please Him and thereby become entitled to the life of eternal bliss---something which he has been promised by Allah through His Prophets.

On the contrary, since according to the Sūfīs, man is actually a Determination (ta’ayyun) of the Almighty and since on the basis of this Determination he has left the Domain of the Divine (‘aalam-i-lahoot) and entered the corporeal world (‘aalam-i-naasoot), therefore, a return to his origin is actually what is required of him. Hence, according to this religion, the relationship between a man and the Almighty is that of a lover and his beloved. He regards his own actual reality---the Almighty---his beloved and tries to seek Him under the guidance of a spiritual mentor after he is made aware of his reality by his mentor. Until he is united with his reality, he rolls and writhes in the agony of remaining parted from his beloved. Since death, in fact, means an eternal union with his actual reality, therefore, it is called ‘union’ (wasal) and the function held to commemorate it is called ‘urs’. All the poetry of Sūfīsm is actually a tale of this love and its related issues.

5. The Qur’ān categorically states that the religion it has revealed upon mankind through the Prophet, is totally complete and final in all respects and there is no possibility of any addition. It says:

‘This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.’ (5:3)

The Prophet (sws) is said to have said:

‘Listen! Indeed, the best book is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the Guidance of Muhammad (sws) [the Prophet of Allah] and the worst of all things are those which are new to this religion and every new thing leads [a man] astray.’ (Muslim, Kitab-ul-Jum’ah)

The followers and exponents of tasawwuf maintain that the religion presented by the Qur’ān and Sunnah is just a preliminary principle consisting of a few superficial things, the real spirit of which can only be saught, after the death of the Prophet (sws) and his Companions, by a methodology they themselves have formulated. Furthermore, the way to obtain the real religion beyond this preliminary principle has also been revealed only to them. Consequently, there exists a whole shariah of auraad, ashghaal, chillaas and muraaqbaat4, which is above and beyond the Sharī’ah given by Allah, being not contained in the Qur’ān and Hadīth. In fact, it is totally against the aims which the Qur’ān and Ahādīth intend to achieve, and about it they openly say that it can only be obtained after associating oneself with their distinguished Sūfīs. It is called Tareeqat.

According to Sūfīsm, the level of excellence that can be achieved in virtues like perseverance, thanksgiving, veracity, sacrifice, modesty, trust and faith is so high that even the Prophet (sws) and his Companions hardly qualify for the first or second level. As far as the third or the level of the elect of the elect is concerned, even they could not attain it. In this regard, the ultimate target of the Sūfīs is much beyond the one fixed by the Almighty. The best example of the contradictions which consequently result between their words and deeds is a piece of writing of a great scholar of tasawwuf of contemporary times. He writes that for a number of years he remained very perplexed at the fact that none of the Sūfī saints had ever committed a sin, whilst it is historically proven that some of the Companions of the Prophet (sws) had even committed as grave a sin as adultery and were also punished for it. He goes on to write that after many years of contemplation he was able to solve the riddle. He concluded that none of the Companions of the Prophet (sws) too did ever commit a sin intentionally, but since the Almighty wanted to complete and finalize his religion through them, He forced them to commit some sins so that He could reveal His laws and directives about them.


In the short space of this article, it is not possible to discuss this topic in detail. However, from the few examples quoted, it is quite evident that tasawwuf is a totally different religion from Islam and has been given patronage under the deceiving label of the reality of Islam. After appreciating this fact, it is necessary to make efforts to reform this state of affairs.

In our estimation, only two measures are needed in this regard: Firstly, those who undertake this job must be very clear that now the Qur’ān is the final and ultimate word of Allah on this earth and every belief of Islam is stated in it. Secondly, the Arabic language, congregations in which the meaning of the Qur’ān is recited and other ways of education should be given patronage so that no one is able to fool the general masses about the content of the Qur’ān.

These two steps, it is our sincere belief, will go a long way towards ridding our society from the evil creed of tasawwuf.

1. This article is part of a major article which presents our recommendations to the government for the enforcement of the Shariah in Pakistan.  (Editors)

2. There is nothing except God.

3. But whenever a saalik in his ecstasy does reveal these ‘secrets’, the walls of the shrines of the Sūfī saints echo with claims like ‘Annal Haq’ (I am God!), ‘Subhaani, maa aa’zama shaa’ni’ (I am pure! What an exalted status is mine!) and ‘maa fee jubbatee illalaah’ (There is no one in my robe except Allah!)

4. These four practices are various forms of zikr (remembrance of Allah) and fikr (meditation) undertaken by the Sūfīs.


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